Updated August 2019

The excitement surrounding the lead up to a holiday is almost as good as the actual thing, but in order to make the embarkation process as smooth as possible there are some key tips to keep in mind. There are a number of easy things you can do to prepare for the big day – read on to find out more!

Waiting for embarkation

1. Declare any disability or accessibility requirements in advance

Making your travel advisor aware of any accessibility requirements you have allows the team to ensure everything is in place for your arrival. Arranging necessary equipment or assistance for embarkation can take some preparation.


  • Advise your cruise expert of health requirements upon booking
  • Approach a member of staff when arriving at the cruise terminal for assistance
  • Arrive early to ensure you have as much time as possible for special arrangements

2. Avoid peak queuing times

Depending on the size of your cruise ship, the crowd of holidaymakers waiting to embark can be quite substantial! To avoid peak queuing times we recommend arriving at port way ahead of time or towards the end of embarkation when queues have quietened down.


  • Ensure you have all your documentation ready if you’re arriving late to speed up the process and prevent delays.
  • Booking a hotel stay the night before embarkation can avoid a morning rush to get to the port on time. You can even turn your cruise holiday into a Cruise & Stay package for some pre-cruise sightseeing!

3. Keep your essential documents at hand

Confirming the documentation you’ll need for your holiday ahead of time with your cruise advisor will make this much easier. Keep your passports, tickets, luggage tags and visas in a travel wallet or an easy-to-access folder in your hand luggage.


  • Making a check-list of the things you’ll need to bring with your travel advisor will ensure there’s no scary surprises when embarkation day comes around.
  • Many cruise lines will take your luggage’s at check-in to bring them directly to your cabin. Ensure you haven’t left anything vital in here that you might need later!

4. Carry some cash, and some snacks

Embarkation can take some time and you may get hungry during the wait. Bring some cash in the currency of your boarding destination to purchase snacks at the bar or shop in port, or pack some snacks and drinks before you leave home.


  • Double-check with your cruise expert that your currency is accepted in port or you may not be able to make a purchase.

5. Make the most of your cruise loyalty benefits

Many cruise lines reward frequent cruisers through loyalty club schemes. Generally, the more you cruise with a particular cruise line, the more points you earn which can be used to redeem numerous fantastic benefits. Opt for priority embarkation with cruise lines such as P&O Cruises or Celebrity Cruises, and you’ll simply breeze through check-in in no time!


  • You may need to select priority embarkation before the date you sail. Ask your cruise expert at the time of booking, or get in touch ahead of time to ensure you’re taken care of upon arriving in port.

6. Pack the essentials in your hand luggage

Your hand luggage should have everything you need to get you through the first day of your cruise. As well as the necessary documentation required at check-in, it’s a good idea to pack a book or some cards for entertainment, and a change of clothes including swimwear (so there’s no need to wait before diving straight into the pool!).


  • Keep your daily medication in both your hand luggage and your luggage. In the event of anything going missing or if you're susceptible to seasickness, you’ll have a spare supply as back-up.

7. Enjoy the experience!

This is where your holiday begins! Many cruise lines will offer entertainment and refreshments in port so you can truly begin to relax the moment you arrive. Mingle with your fellow cruisers, enjoy the complimentary drinks and get ready for the cruise holiday of a lifetime.

Waiting for embarkation

As you can see, the embarkation process will be a breeze as long as you prepare ahead of time. Keep a check list of the things you’ll need to have at hand, pack a good book to tide you over in case of any delays and allow the staff to make you feel right at home. If you’re unsure about anything you might need before you go, check our FAQs for more details.